OCONTO, Wis. – Pro Stephen Paulsen of Peshtigo, Wis., and co-angler Chad Wilz of Appleton, Wis., caught five walleyes weighing 32 pounds, 5 ounces Friday to propel Paulsen into the lead at the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour tournament on Green Bay. Paulsen now has a two-day catch of 10 walleyes weighing 59-15 and a 1-pound, 3-ounce lead over second place pro Ryan Jirik going into the final day of competition. Anglers from 17 states and Canada are fishing for top awards of up to $63,000 in the Pro Division and up to $10,500 in the Co-angler Division.
“This is like a dream come true,” said Paulsen, who guides on Green Bay. “This is what you fish for, to be on top. I am so nervous. I haven’t slept for two days. It really has been a roller coaster ride for me all week. One day is absolutely awesome, like today, and the next day I am wondering why I even entered the tournament.
“I have been fishing the same spot both days and have not seen another boat for two days,” Paulsen continued. “It’s an area that during practice I didn’t catch a single fish on but then the wind came up and it came alive. I really need the wind tomorrow and I am hoping it will produce again otherwise it’s going to be a crap shoot.
“Yesterday I threw back a 24-incher and ended up keeping a 20-incher late in the day to bring in a limit. Today my shortest fish was 23 inches. It is really tough making those decisions. The other thing that hurt me was that today I lost two pigs. I haven’t caught a lot of fish, but they have been quality. I have caught all my fish pulling custom Tommy Harris spinner blades.
Rounding out the top 10 pros are:
2nd: Ryan Jirik, Rhinelander, Wis., 10 walleyes, 58-12
3rd: Danny Plautz, Milwaukee, Wis., 10 walleyes, 55-1
4th: Castrol pro John Campbell, Marco Island, Fla., 10 walleyes, 51-15
5th: Rob Nickels, Norway, Mich., 10 walleyes, 51-14
6th: Tom Keenan, Hatley, Wis., 10 walleyes, 51-5
7th: Paul Meleen, Isle, Minn., 10 walleyes, 51-1
8th: Nick Schertz, Tomahawk, Wis., 9 walleyes, 48-13
9th: National Guard pro Mark Courts, Harris, Minn., 10 walleyes, 48-12
10th: David Andersen, Amery, Wis., 10 walleyes, 46-9
Joe Ebel of Waukesha, Wis., leads the Co-angler Division with 10 walleyes weighing 54-2 followed by Wallace Carter Jr., of Lawrenceburg, Ky., in second place with 10 walleyes weighing 54-2.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are:
3rd: Daniel Leach, Linwood, Mich., 10 walleyes, 54-0
4th: Boyd Strissel, Billings, Mont., 10 walleyes, 53-3
5th: Buck Gehm, Crivitz, Wis., 10 walleyes, 51-2
6th: Shane Frevert, Centerville, Iowa, 10 walleyes, 50-13
7th: John Spiegel, Appleton, Wis., 10 walleyes, 50-11
8th: Edward Mucha, Shabbona, Ill., 10 walleyes, 50-11
9th: Edward Piekutowski, Moorhead, Minn., 10 walleyes, 50-7
10th: Leroy McCoy, Fridley, Minn., 10 walleyes, 49-7
Overall there were 532 walleyes weighing 2,308 pounds, 7 ounces caught by 141 boats Friday. The catch included 86 five-walleye limits.
In Walleye Tour competition, pro and co-anglers are also competing for valuable points in the hope of qualifying for a shot at the 2011 National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship held on the Missouri River in Bismarck, N.D., Sept. 22-25. Anglers are also vying for the coveted Angler of the Year title, which earns them a place in the 2012 Walleye Tour Championship, as well as $10,000 for the pro and $2,500 for the co-angler.
Top 10 anglers and co-anglers will take off from Breakwater Park located at Harbor Road in Oconto at 7 a.m. on Saturday for the final day of competition. The final weigh-in will be held at the marina beginning at 4 p.m. Prior to the final weigh-in, from 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. there will be a free Family Fishing Clinic where children can get free rod and reels while supplies last, plus other great giveaways. Fans will also have the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, ride Ranger boat simulators, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing. All activities are free and open to the public.
Coverage of the Green Bay tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. “FLW Outdoors” will air Aug. 28 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Chip Leer, is broadcast to more than 500 million households worldwide.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com/mc. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Walleye Tour on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWWalleyeTour and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWOutdoors.
About FLW Outdoors
FLW Outdoors is the best in fishing, on and off the water. Anglers worldwide can compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world’s richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player’s Advantage to gain an edge. For more information about FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing, browse FLWOutdoors.com or visit FantasyFishing.com.